A Cross-Cultural Experience of Microaggression in Academia: A Personal Reflection

Munacinga Simatele

Abstract


Microaggression is defined as subtle and often unconscious or automatic actions or statements made towards a discriminated group. It causes distress, anxiety and isolation. Microaggression can often lead to demoralisation and a feeling that one is in a constant psychological warfare. It is also ubiquitous in nature. This paper is a reflection on my experiences of microaggression as a black female academic gathered from working in six universities across five countries and two continents. I use autoethnography underscored by critical race theory thinking. The reflection has a multicultural face and is done in light of the extant literature on gendered, racial and non-native microaggression in the academic world. I find close similarities in my experiences with others. I conclude that microaggressions are ubiquitous and are inevitable in a multicultural setting. Victims need to acknowledge microaggressions and be assertive in order to mitigate the associated negative effects. Further, counterspaces provide a very useful platform for challenging the inaccuracy of victims’ lived experiences and serve as a source of validation.


Keywords


microaggression; prejudice; gender; race; non-native; academia; counterspaces

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25159/1947-9417/3132

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